Firestone Agrees To Replace More Tires

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a multi-state agreement with Bridgestone/ Firestone to replace up to an additional 1.4 million tires identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission as having high separation rates.

Due to concerns about the possible safety risks associated with certain tires under investigation by NHTSA, the Bridgestone/Firestone Multi-State Working Group consisting of 48 states and territories strongly encouraged consumers to take action to have their tires replaced immediately.

"I want to urge all vehicle owners to replace any tires listed in the consumer advisory as soon as possible," Spitzer said. "This agreement is a major win for consumers and goes a long way to improve traffic safety across the nation."

Tires covered by this consumer advisory are provided in the attached list obtained from NHTSA's website (www.nhtsa.com). A majority of these tires were sold as replacements for light trucks and sports utility vehicles.

NHTSA had issued a consumer warning covering these additional tires on September 1, 2000; however, because its investigation had not been completed, it was unable to persuade Bridgestone/Firestone to include the tires in its current recall of 6.5 million AT, ATXII, and certain Wilderness tires.

The agreement attained by the Bridgestone/Firestone Multi-State Working Group includes two options for consumers whose tires appear on the NHTSA Consumer Advisory tire list.

Consumers replacing tires at an authorized dealer for Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. will have their tires replaced free of charge regardless of their use and condition. Any road hazard warranty or insurance will be replaced for free. There will be no charge for mounting, balancing, valve stem, sales tax or disposal.

To locate an authorized dealer, consumers are encouraged to visit Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.'s website store locator at http://www.firestone.com.

For consumers who, instead, go to a non-Firestone authorized dealer to have their tires replaced with those of a competitor, Bridgestone/Firestone will reimburse them up to $140 per tire, including mounting, balancing, valve stem, sales tax, and tire disposal fees. If a replaced tire had a road hazard warranty, Bridgestone/Firestone will pay to replace the warranty on the new tires.

To be eligible for the reimbursement program, the consumer must return the replaced Firestone tires to an authorized dealer where appropriate forms to apply for reimbursement will be provided. A consumer also will need an original receipt for the replacement tires to attach to the reimbursement form. It will take approximately 4-6 weeks for a consumer to receive the reimbursement from Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.

At the request of the Attorneys General, Bridgestone/Firestone has removed any release language from reimbursement forms. This means that consumers do not have to waive any legal rights to take advantage of the Bridgestone/Firestone tire replacement program. Additionally, at the request of the Attorneys General, Bridgestone/Firestone has agreed not to enforce any "releases" previously signed by consumers.

Joining Spitzer in this agreement were Puerto Rico and the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General and Director of Consumer Advocacy Stephen Mindell and by Assistant Attorney General Herb Israel.

Individuals with questions regarding this consumer alert for replacing tires are encouraged to contact Bridgestone/Firestone's help line at (800) 465-1904 or the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755.Attachments:

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